Listen to the four-rotor Mazda 787B giving everyone a buzz
Even if you’ve heard everything, from a four-stroke Saab 99’s impression of a Japanese motorcycle (it’s a very good impression) to the warble of a KamAZ 55111 V8 at idle, it still won’t prepare you for the completely alien sound of the four-rotor Wankel engine powering the Mazda 787B.
Mazda used a four-rotor engine in its Le Mans efforts in the early 1990s. Designed to compete in the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship and the World Sportscar Championship, the 787B racer used an evolution of the Mazda R26B rotary engine, displacing 2,622cc for the four chambers, using three spark plugs per rotor.
In this configuration, the engine churned out 700 hp at 9,000 rpm, detuned just a little to preserve the life of the engine and to conserve fuel.
The 787B’s banner achievement was the 1991 victory at Le Mans with Volker Weidler, Johnny Herbert and Bertrand Gachot at the wheel. This win represented not only the sole victory by a car with anything other than a reciprocating-piston engine, but also the lone win by a Japanese car marque.
But when it comes to that sound, the best description we’ve heard thus far is that of a very angry gasoline-engined weed whacker.
What would you compare its sound to? Let us know in the comments below.